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Elon Musk says Tesla’s home batteries seem to have already gone “super-viral”

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk reveals a Tesla Energy battery for businesses and utility companies during an event in Hawthorne, California April 30, 2015.
Reuters/Patrick T. Fallon
The viral battery.
By Steve LeVine
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

His own solar company has cast doubt on the economics of his new home and business batteries, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he has sold out of the products in the six days they have been on offer.

In a conference call today (May 6) with Wall Street analysts, Musk said Tesla has received orders for 38,000 home batteries and 2,500 utility-scale batteries, a scale of demand that he says will keep his factories busy through the middle of next year.

“The response has been overwhelming—like crazy,” he said, observing that the batteries “seem to have gone super-viral.”

Musk unveiled his stationary battery unit on April 30. He calls the home product the Powerwall, which comes in $3,000 and $3,500 versions, and the $25,000 utility version the Powerpack. The design is sleek, but many industry hands and analysts say the batteries are not the right size to supply steady daily energy for a home or business; instead, the Powerwall is best thought of as a backup in case a home’s electricity goes out, say, in a storm.

Still, there seems to be a hard core of consumers—probably drawn from the same well as those have bought Tesla’s $100,000 electric cars—who have their own reasons for wishing to own a Tesla battery pack. As Musk himself said, just because the economics of the battery don’t make perfect sense it “doesn’t mean people won’t buy it.”

He said demand is so strong that it might take up the entire capacity of his “gigafactory,” the enormous plant in Nevada that, when finished, will double the global supply of lithium-ion batteries. Musk said he is considering adding 50% more capacity to the plant.

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